/fiction/Matrient Packs and the nines problem
Food that lies
VR Meeting Transcription
[Mark]> It’s not so much the impact of what is being reported, it’s about what is actually going on that I need to understand. Dave, could you explain to me what neurotic drift means?
Dave’s avatar takes center focus in the room.
[Dave]> Sure Mark. As you know, the Matrient packs provide the experience of a high quality traditional meal while being a standardized nutritional material, a synth ration essentially. Its taste, texture, presentation and form are little different from a compressed nutritional bar of synthetic materials that provide a perfect delivery of nutrition for an average human. To understand how we take this normally bland product and make it seem like a delicious meal you have to understand the nano-mechanized delivery of memory engrams.
Mark expands his group focus and interjects,
[Mark]> Yes, yes, try not to cover the details of what we make too much and get to the point.
Mark rescinds focus.
[Dave]> Ok. So the nanites embedded in the ration immediately infiltrate the blood stream and target the brain and mouth nervous systems within a few seconds. They deliver carefully tailored memory engrams that make the consumer think they are eating say, a delicious turkey dinner or a mouth watering hamburger. This is of course at odds with the sensory input the consumer is receiving and must continue to receive to finish the meal. To counter this discontinuity a low dose of neurotropic N-adylhyde-metacystine produces a brief opioid like response and dulls the brain’s confusion at the sensory discontinuity while also stimulating hunger briefly by breaking down quickly into ghrelin. This cascade of factors gives consumers the desired outcome of eating a ration bar while experiencing a fine meal 99.9999999% of the time.
Mark again expands his focus, but says nothing.
Dave relinquishes group focus while Mark considers that number with a lot of nines.
[Mark]> So every one in a billion meals something goes wrong with that "cascade of factors"?
Dave issues an avatar nod and resumes normal conversational focus.
[Mark]> And our product got approved for use based on that exact percentage you mention but based on people effected overall, not on the number of meals that fail to work?
Dave responds in conversational focus.
[Dave]> Yes, there was an error in the approval model that analyzed our submission. I’ve double checked our submission and our numbers are perfect and our data schema is correct and unambiguous. We are not at fault here.
Marks avatar indicates he is reviewing other information while holding focus.
[Mark]> That’s relieving to hear from you, but that doesn’t explain these reports filtering through the lower tiers of the net that we are worried about.
Dave takes conversational focus but with an icon that indicates importance and another that indicates speculation.
[Dave]> Well when it doesn’t work as designed, normally it’s just the cascade of factors. Usually it’s just a confusing experience as the discontinuity mitigations fail. Sometimes the meal becomes difficult to eat, sometimes the actual taste is not overidden but dual experienced, sometimes the brief high is too pronounced. But sometimes it’s the memory engrams that fail to embed correctly.
Mark takes focus.
[Mark]> I thought we determined that engrams failing was impossible? That either the memory takes or it fails and breaks down. Is this new behavior?
Dave takes focus and responds.
[Dave]> Yes, well new behavior to us, the simulation budget being what it was. It turns out there can be interactions between other engram injection systems. Unforeseen behavior in excessive injection of similar engrams. And some extremely rare physiology types that accept the engram but receive a completely different memory. When the engram fails in one of these edge cases the results can be particularly undesirable.
Marks’s avatar portrays annoyance.
[Dave]> Well, uh, the effects are usually minor. But we have confirmed some cases of psychosis.
Mark takes focus.
[Mark]> Is that all?
Dave highlights the speculative icon.
[Dave]> Uh, that one case that turned a consumer into a psychotic uncontrollable cannibal was an unexpected permanent implantation of the engram in the wrong cognitive area of the brain. We think we can avoid that ever happening again by adding some additional targeting meta-proteins in the engram sheath.